I will admit it, I am a bit of a know-it-all, very obsessed with details, and enjoy planning my days down to the minute. So when it came time to pack for Seoul I thought I knew it all and packed everything I could need.
But in reality, I forgot one thing: a reusable bag.
Currently, Seoul is pushing to reduce 20% of its plastic waste by 2025. They are doing this through a variety of ways such as limiting one-time plastics, encouraging plastic recycling, and giving subsidies to companies that are looking for ways to get rid of plastic in landfills. One of the biggest ways Seoul has reduced plastic waste is by encouraging the use of reusable bags for shopping.
After checking into my dorm, I immediately went to Emart and Daiso which are two grocery and home goods stores. I did not think to bring anything besides my purse. However, I should have brought the reusable bag I packed with me that I have as a backup purse. When checking out, I was faced with two options: pay 890 won per plastic grocery bag or buy a reusable bag for 5,000 won (89 cents USD and $5 USD respectively). I wanted to facepalm myself at that moment.
From then on, I noticed every store I shopped at and asked for a bag at charged me for it. The 500-1,000 won (50 cents to $1 USD) was quickly adding up. I wanted to save all the money I can for fun things and souvenirs. I planned on shopping until I dropped at Myeondong! If I wasted all my money on plastic bags that wasn't going to happen. So I began carrying my reusable bag on me. I have now been able to start saving my change again for the things I actually want to spend it on.
So, when packing for Seoul take a lesson from me and pack a reusable bag!